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Islamic World News ( 25 Jun 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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SC Dismisses Zakia Jafri’s Plea Against Clean Chit To Narendra Modi In 2002 Riots Case: A Timeline Of How It Played Out

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 June 2022


Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. (File)


New Age Islam News Bureau

25 June 2022

Activist Teesta Setalvad Detained A Day After Court Ruling On 2002 Riots

• Litterateurs, Thinkers Urge Karnataka CM to ‘Establish Peace’ In State by ‘Protecting’ Muslims

• Attempts Underway To Increase Presence of US-Sponsored Takfiri Terrorists in Syria: Report

• In FATF Crosshairs, Pakistan 'Arrests' LeT's 26/11 Plotter Mir after Calling Him Dead

• Hamas Calls for Immediate Halt to Israeli Excavations at Al-Aqsa Mosque

• US Expects ‘Interesting Things’ On Israel Normalization during Biden's West Asia Trip


• Jamiat factions look to unite to fight against increasing Islamophobia in India

• After Friday Prayers, Imams Make Appeal from Mosques in Kanpur Exhorting Youths to Follow Agnipath

• Andhra Pradesh: YSRCP government has cheated Muslims, alleges TDP State general secretary

• SC dismisses Zakia Jafri plea: ‘Disappointed with verdict… will decide on future course after returning from Mecca’, says Zakia son

• Narco-terrorism: Four Lashkar men arrested in Budgam

• 14-year-old detained in Srinagar for terror links, father also held

• Gujarat HC refuses status quo on alleged conversion of Dargah, issues notices


Arab World

• Saudi Arabia Releases Shia Prisoner "Murtaja Qureiris, Detained when he was only 13, Facing Execution: Rights Group

• Saudi Demolition Plan in Jeddah Violates Human Rights, Discriminates Against Foreign Nationals

• UAE rushes 30 tons of aid to Afghanistan after earthquake claims over 1,150 lives

• Dozens of Iraqi lawmakers sworn in after Sadr bloc resigns from parliament



• Negotiation with terror outfit TTP sparks fear in Pakistan’s Parliament

• Foes of Islam and Palestine hatching conspiracies against Pakistan, Jihad-e-Islami

• Peace talks with TTP require Pak House nod

• Pakistan political party holds protests over killing of four youth activists in North Waziristan tribal region

• PM Shehbaz calls for security of foreign investors in Balochistan



• Member of Islamic-Christian Committee: Palestinian refugees should return to their land

• Iran, China Vow to Broaden Mutual Cooperation

• Iran: Afghanistan's Assets Should Be Released without Politicization

• Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli forces in West Bank: Sources

• Donors pledge $160 million, Palestinian refugees need more


North America

• Dozens of Senate lawmakers demand that US probe Abu Akleh’s murder

• End of US era in Latin America ‘approaching’



• Mali’s Army Says 50 Extremists ‘Neutralized’

• Jordan’s king says he supports Middle East military alliance similar to NATO

• Tunisia’s interior ministry confirms threats to President Saied’s life, foils attack

• Hundreds of migrants storm border separating Spain’s Melilla enclave from Morocco

• UN rights chief calls for impartial probe into Ethiopia mass killings



• Oslo shooting suspect is a Norwegian of Iranian descent: Police

• Investigation in Sweden related to YPG/PKK terror group ends over 'lack of evidence'


South Asia

• One Of Taliban Commanders Joined Ahmad Massoud’s Forces

• Thousands of quake survivors without food, shelter in Afghanistan

• UNSC Discusses Afghanistan Ongoing Humanitarian, Political Crisis

• Taliban thank Pakistan, other friendly countries for helping quake-hit Afghanistan

• India takes baby steps to dealing with Taliban


Southeast Asia

• Indonesian police arrest six for 'blasphemy' over bar promotion

• Motac targets 900,000 Muslim tourists to Malaysia this year, says minister

• Malaysia running on empty, seeking a Jokowi

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



SC Dismisses Zakia Jafri’s Plea Against Clean Chit To Narendra Modi In 2002 Riots Case: A Timeline Of How It Played Out


Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. (File)


By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi

June 24, 2022

The Supreme Court Friday dismissed a plea filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging a clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and several others in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Ehsan Jafri, a former MP, was among 68 killed at Gulberg Society in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002, a day after a coach of the Sabarmati Express was burnt at Godhra, killing 59 people and triggering riots in the state.

Here’s a timeline of the events:

February 27, 2002

On the morning of February 27, 2002, a coach of the the Sabarmati Express — Coach S6 — was set ablaze and 59 passengers travelling in that coach were charred to death. The train had arrived at Godhra station in Gujarat just then. The victims included 27 women and 10 children. Injuries were suffered by another 48 passengers in the train.

The train burning incident had within hours triggered violent riots across the state. The riots broke out on the evening of February 27 and continued for 2-3 months across the state. The Centre in 2005 informed Rajya Sabha that the riots claimed the lives of 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims. A total 223 people were reported missing. Tens of thousands were rendered homeless as well. The details were later published at the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission.

March 2008

The Supreme Court constituted a Special Investigation Team to investigate the incident that caused the riots.

June 1, 2009

Trials in the case started over eight years after the incident on June 1, 2009.

March 1, 2011

A special SIT court convicted 31 people on March 1, 2011,out of whom 11 were awarded death sentences and 20 life imprisonment. The court also acquitted 63 people in the case. The SIT court concurred with the charges of the prosecution that this was not an incident of unplanned mob outrage and rather it involved conspiracy. The 31 convicts were convicted under the Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy, murder and attempt to murder.

September 12, 2011

The Supreme Court refused to pass any order on Narendra Modi’s alleged inaction to contain the 2002 riots and referred the matter to the concerned magistrate in Ahmedabad for a decision.

February 8, 2012

SIT filed a closure report in the Supreme Court giving a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 63 others, out of which many were senior government officials. The SIT said there was “no prosecutable evidence” against them.

January 9, 2014

Protest petition by Zakia Jafri against SIT’s clean chit to Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat communal riots was rejected by an Ahmedabad court. Jafri said she was not disheartened after the verdict and would appeal against it.

June 2, 2016

A special SIT court in Ahmedabad on Thursday convicted 24, including a VHP leader, in the 2002 post-Godhra Gulberg society massacre, which left 69 people including the former Congress MP dead. Thirty six others were acquitted.

Zakia Jafri expressed her discontent at the special court verdict in the Gulberg Society case.

October 5, 2017

The Gujarat High Court upheld the judgment of a metropolitan court that accepted a clean chit to the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 60 others in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots, and rejected Zakia Jafri’s allegations that the riots were part of a “larger conspiracy”.

November 19, 2018

In 2018, Zakia Jafri filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s October 5, 2017 order rejecting her plea against the decision of the SIT. The Supreme Court decided to take up the petition on November 19, 2018. The plea also maintained that after the SIT gave a clean chit in its closure report before a trial judge, Zakia Jafri filed a protest petition which was dismissed by the magistrate without considering “substantiated merits”.

October 26, 2021

The Supreme Court said that it wanted to see the closure report filed before a Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Ahmedabad by the SIT, giving a clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 63 others.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal who appeared for Zakia Jafri, told the Bench, which included Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar, that the SIT and the courts did not look at Jafri’s complaints and other relevant facts. He submitted that Jafri’s complaint was not limited to the Gulberg Society violence in which her husband was killed, and the SC-appointed SIT “ignored” evidence;

October 27, 2021

The Supreme Court-appointed SIT denied contentions by Zakia Jafri that it had not gone into all the facts related to the communal incidents, stating that it had “faithfully investigated everything”.

“We will show you that we have faithfully investigated everything,” Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the SIT, told a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar.

November 11, 2021

Zakia Jafri demanded that the Supreme Court-appointed SIT, which gave a clean chit to then chief minister Narendra Modi in its closure report, itself “should be investigated”.

Appearing for Jafri, Kapil Sibal told Supreme Court bench that the “SIT was concluding contrary to facts. In fact such SITs should be investigated”. Sibal recalled that the SIT was set up because the National Human Rights Commission moved the SC, saying that the local police were not investigating properly. But the SIT also did not investigate as it should have, he said.

November 16, 2021

The Supreme Court asked Zakia Jafri how she could say the SIT “collaborated” with the accused when the team had filed chargesheets that ended in convictions in riot-related cases.

“You are attacking the manner of investigation done by SIT. It is the same SIT that had filed chargesheet in other cases, and they were convicted. No such grievance in those proceedings,” the court told Kapil Sibal.

The remarks came when Sibal said there is “glaring evidence of collaboration. The political class became collaborators. This is the stark story about collaboration with accused.”

November 24, 2021

The SIT told the top court that it had not shielded anyone and ruled that “uncharitable” remarks were being made against it. “We were not shielding anybody,” senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi told the Supreme Court.

November 25, 2021

The SIT termed as “absurd” the contention that burning of coach S-6 of Sabarmati Express train that led to the riots was “orchestrated” by Hindutva groups.

“The allegation is (that) even before the incident, there were arms pile-up before February 27. It boggles my mind. Say I am a radical Hindu member of VHP and I am keeping arms on February 25 without knowing the date of the train burning incident, that makes no sense…” senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court.

“Or you are saying this train burning was also orchestrated? That can’t be (true), because the train was delayed by five hours and was only going to stop for two minutes,” he submitted. “They could not have known…It’s absurd. There is a limit to what is being said here.”

December 8, 2021

Zakia Jafri told Supreme Court that she had not spoken about her allegations of a larger conspiracy behind the riots while deposing in the trial of the Gulberg Society killings case, as she was only a prosecution witness and not complainant in that case.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Jafri, told a bench that being a prosecution witness, she had to confine her statements to what she knew about the particular case.

“She appeared as a prosecution witness in 2010…. She was not a complainant in the Gulberg trial and was required to give evidence only regarding what was needed to be proved…” Sibal said.

December 9, 2021

The Supreme Court had reserved its order on the appeal on December 9, 2021 after hearing all sides.

June 24, 2022

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by Zakia Jafri challenging the clean chit given by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who was then chief minister of the state — and others in connection with the riot-related cases in Gujarat.

The SC bench upheld the decision of the Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate to accept the closure report submitted by the SIT – which was appointed by the top court – and reject the protest petition filed by Jafri against accepting the report.

The Supreme Court held that Zakia’s appeal was “devoid of merits and deserves to be dismissed”.


 Activist Teesta Setalvad Detained A Day After Court Ruling On 2002 Riots


Activist Teesta Setalvad


Reported by Sukirti Dwivedi, Edited by Divyanshu Dutta Roy

June 25, 2022

Mumbai/New Delhi: Activist Teesta Setalvad was taken into custody by the Gujarat Police's Anti-Terrorism Squad from Mumbai on Saturday, a day after the Supreme Court lashed out at those who had "kept the pot boiling" on the 2002 Gujarat riots.

A complaint filed this morning by the Gujarat Police against her, seen by NDTV, cited the strongly-worded Supreme Court judgment that included allusions to Ms Setalvad's NGO which has worked extensively with the victims of the riots.

The activist has been accused of forgery and falsification of records among other charges in the complaint that also names former police officers RB Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt, who too had accused the Gujarat government of preventing the police from stopping the riots.

Ms Setalvad was a co-petitioner in the case that was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Friday that challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi's exoneration. Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the riots, was the main petitioner.

Upholding the clearance to PM Modi, then Chief Minister of the Gujarat, by a court-appointed Special Investigation Team or SIT, the Supreme Court said the case was "devoid of merits" and was filed "obviously, for ulterior design".

"All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law," the judges said, surmising that Ms Jafri's appeal was filed under "dictation of someone".

In the past, after PM Modi came to power at the centre, Ms Setalvad has had run-ins with the CBI and Gujarat Police, over allegations of financial misappropriation at her NGO.

Ms Setalvad's detention came hours after Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in an interview to news agency ANI, said that Ms Setalvad gave baseless information about the Gujarat riots and helped run a campaign to stain PM Modi's image.

"I have read the judgement very carefully. The judgement clearly mentions the name of Teesta Setalvad. The NGO that was being run by her - I don't remember the name of the NGO - had given baseless information about the riots to the police," Mr Shah said.


Litterateurs, Thinkers Urge Karnataka CM to ‘Establish Peace’ In State by ‘Protecting’ Muslims


Karnataka chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai


June 25, 2022

In a setback to ruling BJP government, litterateurs, thinkers have written an open letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai urging him to “establish peace in Karnataka by protecting Muslims”.

Chief Minister Bommai should have “assured protection” of Muslims in the state who are being “targeted by communal forces” again and again, the letter stated, adding “The Chief Minister should have stated that Ramzan festival will be celebrated on lines with the Basavana Jayanthi. Then it would have touched hearts.”

The litterateurs maintained that they had tried to meet him and submit the memorandum since over a month, and they were not able to meet him. “Hence, it is decided to release the open letter. We have thought that it is duty to being the concerns and recommendations to bring it to your notice,” the letter said.

“It is demanded that the police should be directed to work as per the objectives of the Constitution. The victims of communal forces should be getting justice, witnesses should be protected and assured of protection,” it added.

Going forward, the litterateurs suggested that in case of communal violence, arson, and deaths, there should be action on respective DC, district administration, police officers.

“Online and social media campaign against minorities should be monitored and controlled. The government should be vocal about condemning it and initiate action,” they urged.

As many as 75 litterateurs and thinkers including film maker Girish Kasaravalli, singer M.D. Pallavi, writers Vaidehi, B. Suresh, H.S. Anupama, Dr Tejaswini Niranjan and Nanjaraj Urs have expressed their concerns in the letter.

Source: The Statesman

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Attempts Underway To Increase Presence of US-Sponsored Takfiri Terrorists in Syria: Report


This file picture shows the US-backed so-called Maghawir al-Thawra terrorists training in the strategic al-Tanf region of southeastern Syria, near the borders of Iraq and Jordan. (Photo via Twitter)


23 June 2022

Attempts are reportedly underway in order to expand the presence of Washington-allied Takfiri terrorists, who are currently stationed in southeastern Syria, and deploy them in areas where American occupation forces are located in northeastern Syria.

According to a report published by Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network, the camps of the US-backed so-called Maghawir al-Thawra terrorists in the strategic al-Tanf region, near the borders of Iraq and Jordan, have witnessed heightened activities over the past days, and the extremists are participating in live-fire exercises in an area around the Tanf base, which is known as the 55 km area, under the supervision of the US-led military coalition purportedly formed to fight the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

The report added that the activities are ongoing amid reports that the US military is trying to increase the presence of Maghawir al-Thawra terrorists and other allied Takfiris, and dispatch them to areas in the northern and eastern parts of Syria which are under the control of the militants from the Kurdish-led and so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Al-Mayadeen went on to note that the chief commander of Maghawir al-Thawra terrorists visited Saudi Arabia about two weeks ago, and met with a number of officials there.

Groups of the militants have lately arrived in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah, and been deployed in the al-Zohour neighbourhood of Hasakah city as well as a village in the southern flank of the province.

Al-Mayadeen added that the US-led coalition is seeking to expand the presence of Maghawir al-Thawra terrorists in the areas controlled by the SDF in an attempt to ensure that Syrian government forces would not wrest control over oil fields in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr if SDF forces had to withdraw in the face of any new Turkish offensive.

The report comes less than a week after Russia warned American occupation forces that it was going to conduct airstrikes against Maghawir al-Thawra terrorists in al-Tanf region after a roadside bomb targeted Russian military forces.

Two unnamed US defence officials were quoted as saying by CNN that the warning, which came earlier this month, prompted the US to quickly call on the militants to move their positions and to ensure that no American forces were in close proximity.

Last month, the foreign intelligence service of the Russian Federation (SVR RF) said US occupation forces deployed in Syria’s al-Tanf region were providing military support to Daesh terrorists and training them for field operations in Ukraine.

According to a report published by Russia’s Arabic-language RT Arabic television news network, approximately 500 Daesh terrorists and militants from the Caucasus and Central Asian countries were undergoing training at the camp to carry out acts of sabotage and terrorist attacks against units of the Russian armed forces, both inside Syria and in the east European country.

A number of captured Daesh terrorists have already confessed to close cooperation with US military forces stationed at al-Tanf base in the central Syrian province of Homs in carrying out various acts of terror and sabotage.

During confessions broadcast on Syria’s state-run television network in May 2020, several terrorists revealed that they were instructed by American forces to target Syrian government troops in and around the ancient city of Palmyra, the Tiyas Military Airbase – also known as the T-4 Airbase, the Shaer gas field as well as nearby oil wells.

Source: Press TV

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In FATF crosshairs, Pakistan 'arrests' LeT's 26/11 Plotter Mir After Calling Him Dead


Mir is on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists


Jun 25, 2022

NEW DELHI: At first, he didn't exist. Then he was declared dead. But 14 years after he and his team plotted the 26/11 attack in Mumbai, Pakistan seems to have "arrested" global terrorist and LeT Commander Sajid Mir, who is probably in his late 40s and carries an FBI bounty of $5 million on his head.

The development is seen as a desperate attempt by Pakistan to get out of the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force. Mir is wanted by the US government and the next possible course of action seems his extradition and trial on American soil. At least six US citizens were killed in the 26/11 attacks.

FBI describes Mir as someone who once wore a beard and hair down to his shoulders. He, it says, may have altered his appearance and holds him responsible for directing preparations and reconnaissance and being one of the Pakistan-based controllers during the 26/11 attacks.

He was the banned LeT's foreign recruiter and the main handler for American terrorist David Coleman Headley alias Dawood Gilani.

A US justice department document mentions how the 26/11 attackers were in real-time telephonic contact with Mir and his associates Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal during the attack. "During the course of the attacks, terrorists were advised to, among other actions, kill hostages, set fires, and throw grenades," the document says.

On Mir's advice, Headley, then based in Pennsylvania, changed his name from "Dawood Gilani" to "David Coleman Headley" in order to facilitate his activities on behalf of Lashkar by enabling him to present himself in India as an American, who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani. Mir also advised Headley to open an immigration office in Mumbai as a cover for his surveillance activities and was given $25,000 for the setup.

In September 2006, Mir and ISI's Major Iqbal instructed Headley to get settled in India, and take photographs of various locations of public significance in India, including the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai.

Source: Times Of India

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Hamas Calls for Immediate Halt to Israeli Excavations at al-Aqsa Mosque


A general view shows the Dome of Rock mosque in Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on April 18, 2022 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]


June 25, 2022

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has taken strong exception to Israeli excavations at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, calling for an immediate halt to it.

In a statement on Thursday, the Gaza-based resistance movement said the excavation work in the vicinity of the al-Aqsa Mosque poses a serious threat to the mosque compound.

“The continued excavations being carried out by the Zionist occupation authorities in the areas of the Buraq Wall (also known as the Western Wall) and Umayyad Palace pose a direct threat to the foundations and walls of the sacred al-Aqsa Mosque, and are an attempt to obliterate the Islamic and historical identities of the city of al-Quds,” read the statement.

It further warned the apartheid regime of full responsibility for “repercussions of such serious violations”, while seeking the intervention of global organizations.

“We call on the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Kingdom of Jordan which has the custodianship of the al-Aqsa Mosque to urgently stop these malicious colonial schemes and protect al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque.”

In recent months, Hamas has repeatedly warned that any Israeli attempt to seize al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Old City of al-Quds will have “damaging consequences” for Tel Aviv.

Earlier this month, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Israel has failed to establish any historical link with the city of Jerusalem al-Quds despite continuous excavations of sacred sites there.

“Fifty-five years of excavations and tunnel digging did not prove that there is a temple in the city,” Shtayyeh told a conference titled ‘Property Documentation and the Historical Status of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque’ in the central West Bank city of al-Bireh on June 8.

He emphasized the importance of such conferences to strengthen the Palestinian narrative and thwart the Tel Aviv regime’s systematic distortion of facts and attempts to disguise the Arab, Muslim and Christian identities of the city.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.

Source: ABNA24

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US Expects ‘Interesting Things’ On Israel Normalization During Biden's West Asia Trip


President Joe Biden


24 June 2022

The United States expects more Arab states to make moves to normalize their ties with the Israeli regime during the forthcoming visit of President Joe Biden to the West Asia region.

Barbara Leaf, the top US diplomat for Middle East affairs, at a congressional hearing on Thursday said Biden’s visit could bring new developments pertaining to the so-called Abraham Accords as Washington continues to bat for greater cooperation between Israel and the Arab states.

"We are working in the space that is not in the public domain with a couple of other countries," Leaf told lawmakers. "I think you will see some interesting things around the time of the president's visit."

She stopped short of naming any countries on being asked to elaborate, declaring that she “wouldn't want to step on the president's toes.”

The senior US official claimed that the United Arab Emirates-Israel relationship was “going like gangbusters" but that the Biden administration also wanted to encourage broader cooperation.

The UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in 2020 became the first Arab countries in decades to normalize relations with Israel in a deal brokered by former US President Donald Trump.

Saudi Arabia is yet to jump on the bandwagon, but the two sides have seen growing contacts and de-facto rapprochement in recent years, despite claims that it is committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which conditions normalizing ties with Israel on the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

The kingdom in November 2020 granted permission for Israeli airlines to use its airspace, hours before the first Israeli flight to the United Arab Emirates was set to take off.

Palestinian leaders, activists and ordinary people have repeatedly rejected Arab-Israeli normalization deals as “a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people”.

The speculation is rife that Biden will be aggressively pushing for normalization between Riyadh and Tel Aviv during his trip to the region between July 13 and 16.

The US president is scheduled to meet Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and other regional leaders during the high-profile visit, his first to Saudi Arabia since becoming the president last year.

The American news website Axios on Thursday reported that White House has been working on a "roadmap for normalization" between Saudi Arabia and Israel ahead of Biden's visit.

However, the report said the Biden administration thinks that any roadmap for normalization will take time and will be a long-term process.

US ‘antisemitism envoy’ to visit Saudi Arabia in first trip abroad

Meanwhile, the US State Department announced on Thursday that Deborah Lipstadt, the US special envoy to combat anti-Semitism, is set to travel to West Asia later this week as part of attempts to promote Israel normalization.

It said Lipstadt would visit Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the trip, which begins on Sunday, ahead of Biden’s visit to the region.

"Lipstadt intends to build on the profoundly important Abraham Accords to advance religious tolerance, improve relations in the region, and counter misunderstanding and distrust," the State Department said in a statement.

Speaking to reporters earlier on Thursday, Lipstadt called Saudi Arabia a "very important country" that had "shown a willingness and openness to hosting me."

Lipstadt said she planned to meet with government ministers and civil society leaders while in the kingdom, although she did not share details of those she would meet.

Earlier this year, the Holocaust historian and staunch Israel supporter slammed an Amnesty International report that accused Israel of practicing apartheid against Palestinians.

Source: Press TV

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 Jamiat factions look to unite to fight against increasing Islamophobia in India

25th June 2022

The two factions of the powerful Muslim religious organisation Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), which are both led by Deobandi clerics, are attempting to reconcile fourteen years after the JUH split.

In 2008, the division occurred because members of its working committee raised questions about the way the leader at the time, Maulana Arshad Madani, ran the organisation’s operations. Arshad Madani took over from his brother Maulana Asad Madani, who used to run the organisation for 41 years. As the organisation was facing troubles, Arshad Madani formed his separate Jamiat organisation by the same name.

Meanwhile, Asad Madani’s son, Maulana Mahmood Madani, took control of the other part of JUH, first as its general secretary and then as its president.

And now, with the growing hate and intolerance against Muslims, the opposing factions are planning on uniting to strengthen the organisation, according to a report by The Indian Express. The Jamiat is one of the most significant Muslim communities assets having 1.5 crore followers and members.

“The split took place because, at the time, the president’s functioning was not acceptable to the organization. There had been objections made by members of the working committee. It was purely an organisational matter and not an ideological one,” the sources said in the report.

On the 28th of last month, the Mahmood Madani faction invited Arshad Madani to attend the annual general body meeting in Deoband. 2000 members from around the world attended the meeting. The sources informed that the main reason for the invite was to check if there was any possibility of them being united and strengthened. A massive campaign, “Sadhbhavna Sansads”, has been in the plans of JUH to launch across India.

In the meeting, Arshad Madani gained massive acceptance with his speech. He said, “When I spoke at the meeting, I said that in the near future, there will come a day when this Maidan will house all members from both factions unitedly.” This statement received a tremendous welcome from the members. So, we felt that the merger could happen. We held our working committee meeting on Saturday (June 18) and passed a resolution in favour of a merger.”

He went on to add, “The Jamiat has an over 100-year-old history. At a time when partition was happening, and a section of Muslims propounded the idea that Hindus and Muslims could not live together, we remained. Our logic was that the two communities had lived together for thousands of years, so what was the reasoning behind a separate nation for Muslims? Today, a similar theory is being propounded by a section of Hindus who are spreading division and hatred. And this communal stance is being fostered by the present government. At this juncture, the Jamiat needs to come together so our voice can be stronger.”

Arshad also stated that Islamophobia in the country is increasing and it is crucial for the leaders to come together and “fight discrimination against Muslims together.”

To end this, the JUH plans to bring together leaders from other Muslim communities as well as non-religious leaders and thinkers. In its resolution, the JUH highlighted the “anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic propaganda in the country’’.

Source: Siasat Daily

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After Friday prayers, Imams make appeal from mosques in Kanpur exhorting youths to follow Agnipath

Jun 24, 2022

KANPUR: A group of clerics and Muslim intellectuals in Kanpur made an appeal before and after Friday prayers asking community youths to apply for the newly launched Agnipath scheme and to utilize the opportunity and serve the country by joining the defence forces. The appeal was made from the majority of the mosques in the city.

The initiative has been started under the banner of Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) that works for the cause of education for Muslim children.

Maulana Meraj Ashrafi, Imam of Nanpara Mosque at Yateem Khana crossing, said that the youngsters should apply for the Agnipath scheme. “This is a good opportunity which involves not only employment but also an opportunity to serve the country,” said Ashrafi.

“This is a good initiative of the government. On Friday, we asked people to grab the opportunity and get their eligible children to apply for the scheme,” said Qari Idrees, a cleric at a mosque in Chaubeypur.

After Friday prayers at Nanpara mosques, general secretary of All India Sunni Ulema Council Haji Mohammad Salees said that the community youth between 17 and 23 years should go ahead and apply for the Agnipath scheme and not indulge in any kind of controversy.

“Even though the employment under the scheme is for four years, many opportunities are open even after this. They should apply for jobs in the Agnipath scheme and become Agniveers and serve the nation by securing borders of the country,” he said.

Haji Mohammad Salees told TOI, “We have been appealing to Muslim youths because the scheme will also bring a discipline among them and also make them trained professionals. We had spoken to Imams of many mosques, from where the appeal was made before and after Friday prayers today. The promotional campaign will continue.”

“All India Sunni Ulema Council has lakhs of members all over the country. Besides, a large number of clerics are associated with the council. So, this appeal will definitely prove to be a boon for Agnipath,” Salees said.

Last week, violence marred several states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Telangana, while peaceful agitations were held in several places against the scheme.

Source: Times Of India

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Andhra Pradesh: YSRCP government has cheated Muslims, alleges TDP State general secretary

JUNE 24, 2022

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) State general secretary Md. Nazeer has alleged that the YSR Congress Party government has cheated the Muslim community by promising to double the benefits under various schemes given to minorities but failing to implement them.

Addressing a media conference here on Friday, Mr. Nazeer said that a private person had filed a petition in the High Court yesterday saying that grave injustice was being done to Muslims under the YSR Congress Party government. The Judge was shocked by the reply of the government pleader that the State government has no money to run welfare schemes. The Judge sought a written affidavit to that effect, Mr. Nazeer said.

The TDP leader recalled that during his padayatra before the general elections, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy had held a meeting of Muslim and Christian minorities in Visakhapatnam city and promised to enhance the amount under ‘Dulhan scheme’, under which the Chandrababu Naidu government was extending ₹50,000 to meet the wedding expenses of Muslim girls, to ₹1 lakh, if his party was voted to power.

Source: The Hindu

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SC dismisses Zakia Jafri plea: ‘Disappointed with verdict… will decide on future course after returning from Mecca’, says Zakia son

by Kamal Saiyed

June 25, 2022

Tanveer Jafri, the son of the Gulberg society massacre survivor Zakia Jafri, expressed disappointment Friday with the Supreme Court verdict that upheld the clean chit to the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the 2002 riots.

A bench presided over by Justice A M Khanwilkar upheld the decision of the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Magistrate to accept the closure report of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) — which was appointed by the top court — rejecting the protest petition filed by Zakia.

Tanveer, who is in Mecca for the Haj pilgrimage, told The Indian Express: “I am disappointed with the top court’s order delivered today. I also had a talk with her (his mother) about the order and she said she had full faith in the Almighty. I will also pray so that we get justice.”

Tanveer, who resides in Surat, said he was handling the legal battle as his 82-year old mother had a hearing problem and could not stand or walk for extended periods.

Zakia was at a relative’s place “outside Gujarat”, he added.

“I was praying at Haram-sharif (near Kabatulla), when my friend called and informed me about the order. I have gone through the primary details and found that it has over 450 pages. I will need time to go through it,” said Tanveer, adding that he said he would decide on a course of action after returning.

Zakia’s husband Ahsan Jafri, a Congress MP, was among the 69 people killed in the massacre on February 28, 2002.

The SIT formed by the Supreme Court had submitted a closure report in 2012 giving a clean chit to then chief minister Narendra Modi after a preliminary investigation into the complaint filed by Zakia against Modi and 63 others including bureaucrats and policemen. It said there was no prosecutable evidence against them.

The Metropolitan Magistrate’s court, where the complaint had been filed, endorsed the clean chit.

Source: Indian Express

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Narco-terrorism: Four Lashkar men arrested in Budgam

Jun 25, 2022

SRINAGAR: J&K Police on Friday busted a narco-terrorism funding module with the arrest of four Lashkar-e-Taiba associates from central Kashmir’s Budgam district. Preliminary investigation revealed that the Lashkar affiliates were involved in providing logistic support to the outfit by distributing proceeds of narcotics sale to active terrorists and other Lashkar operatives.

A joint team of the Army’s 53RR, CRPF’s 181Bn and police made the arrests and seized “three grenades, two AK magazines, 65 rounds of AK-47 ammunition along with other incriminating items and explosive substances” from the four, police said in a statement. Those arrested were identified as Younis Manzoor, Mehboob Ahmed, Irshad Ahmad Ganie and Muzaffar Ahmad, all Budgam residents.

Source: Times Of India

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14-year-old detained in Srinagar for terror links, father also held

Jun 25, 2022

SRINAGAR: A 14-year-old Class IX student and his father were detained and their home in Srinagar searched for the boy's alleged terrorist links as the NIA conducted multiple searches in eight locations of J&K in connection with terrorism-related cases, official sources said on Friday.

The sources said mobile phones of the boy and his parents were seized by the NIA team during the search of their home in Kani Mazar Nawakadal, downtown Srinagar. His 47-year-old father is a driver by profession. Both were detained for questioning.

NIA sleuths with police and CRPF men carried out searches in Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Bandipora, Pulwama, Sopore, and Kathua.

Source: Times Of India

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Gujarat HC refuses status quo on alleged conversion of dargah, issues notices

Jun 25, 2022

The Gujarat high court on Friday issued notices to the state government, Ahmedabad district collector and other respondents in connection with a petition filed by a Muslim organisation against the alleged conversion of 600-year-old Pir Imam Shah Bawa Dargah on the outskirts of Ahmedabad to Hindu religious places.

The court did not accept the petitioner’s plea for ordering a status quo that would halt the ongoing construction activity in the compound area of the mosque.

The petition is filed by Sunni Awami Forum through its trustee Usman Haji Ahmed Qureshi, who has invoked the Places of Worship Act, 1991. It is the same Act which has been invoked in cases pertaining to the Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi, the Shahi Idgah Masjid in Mathura and the Quwat-e-Islam Masjid in Delhi.

Senior counsel Mihir Joshi, who appeared for Qureshi, submitted that the shrine has been undergoing rapid changes and unless a status quo is ordered, the nature of the place of worship would change.

The court has given time till August 8 for respondents to file their replies. Joshi sought a shorter duration as a lot of construction activity could be carried out by then.

The petitioner has also made Imamshah Bawa Roza Trust, Ahmedabad deputy collector, mamlatdar, district superintendent of police and police inspector of Aslali police station as respondents in the case.

“The Dargah is now converted into a temple with idol being installed. It is to be noted in the dargah premises there is no such place for idols,” said the petition. Thus, the soul and essence of the dargah or Trust property has been replaced with a temple or in other words the dragah is converted into temple, it alleged adding that it was contrary to the scheme of the Trust and provisions of the Places of Worship Act.

Manisha Lavkumar Shah, the government pleader in the case, said that they have received the notice and have time till August 8 to file their response. She declined to comment on the matter. Senior counsel Joshi declined to speak on the matter.

The history of the Pirana shrine has in the past been seen as an example of communal harmony, with a large number of Imamshah Bawa devotees being Hindus, who identified themselves as ‘Satpanthi’.

The Sathpanthi are elected from the categories of “Sathpanth” and therefore, being majority in the committee, they are managing the Imamshah Bawa Roza Trust with sole motive to deprive Saiyed and other Muslims from performing religious rites and rituals and portraying Pir Imamshah Bawa as the Hindu saint, the petition alleged.

The Trust started construction of a temple in the compound of the dargah adjacent to the Roza of Pir Imamshah Bawa on May 10, 2022. The petitioner along with Saiyed Trustees of Trust and Imamshahi Sadat Committee made representations to the Ahmedabad district collector and police superintendent requesting to stop illegal construction of the temple but no steps were taken in this direction, it alleged.

The Muslim trustees and devotees have lately been alleging imposition of the Hindu faith. They alleged that idols of Dashavatar were installed outside the shrine earlier this year and now a temple is being constructed in the area. They demanded videography of the complex to assess the situation and the appointment of a commission to draw up a Panchnama to get the current situation on record.

On January 30, 2022 about 200 labourers along with huge police force came to the Trust and started construction of a wall in the compound, dividing the dargah,qabrastan and masjid.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Arab World


Saudi Arabia Releases Shia Prisoner "Murtaja Qureiris, Detained when he was only 13, Facing Execution: Rights Group

24 June, 2022

Saudi authorities have released a member of the country's Shia minority who was arrested at age 13 and had risked the death penalty, a human rights group said on Friday.

"Murtaja Qureiris, detained since 2014 when he was only 13, has been released following the expiry of his sentence," ALQST for Human Rights said on Twitter.

"Qureiris had been at risk of the death penalty, and was later sentenced to eight years on charges including participating in protests at the age of 10," the London-based group added.

It said he "should never have been arrested".

Amnesty International in the Gulf said it was "happy" for Qureiris and his family.

Saudi Arabia has released several young Shia men in recent months, including Ali al-Nimr, who was arrested as a minor in 2012 for taking part in anti-government protests and received a death sentence that was later commuted.

Nimr is a nephew of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed by Saudi Arabia in 2016, leading to the severance of diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Tehran.

Saudi Arabia in recent years has announced a series of reforms to sentencing by the courts, including a moratorium on the death penalty for drug offences, as well as abolishing court-ordered floggings.

In April 2020, the kingdom announced it was ending the death penalty for those convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18.

But the wealthy Gulf country has one of the world's highest execution rates.

Source: The New Arab

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Saudi demolition plan in Jeddah violates human rights, discriminates against foreign nationals

23 June 2022

International human rights organizations have criticized Saudi authorities for their forced evictions and demolitions in the strategic Red Sea port city of Jeddah, saying that the plans discriminate against foreign nationals and violate international human rights standards.

According to the rights groups, Saudi officials have evicted hundreds of thousands of residents from their homes in the city between the end of 2021 and the start of 2022, as part of the latest ambitious project of the kingdom’s Crown Prince and defacto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, known as Vision 2030.

A review of municipality documents has found that more than 558,000 residents were affected as a result.

While a compensation scheme was announced by local authorities, the plan excluded foreign nationals who make up 47 percent of those evicted.

According to the London-based rights group ALQST, an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, evicted residents had been living in their homes for up to 60 years.

Some were driven out when their power and water were cut off, or threatened with jail for disobeying an eviction order, it added.

A resident of Jeddah’s southern neighborhood of Galil, which saw the first demolitions last October, said security forces had confiscated mobile phones to prevent footage from getting out.

“We were suddenly expelled from our homes overnight and without warning,” said the man, who gave his name as Fahd.

Saudi officials have asserted that the kingdom will compensate families for their losses and announced in February that the government would complete 5,000 replacement housing units by the end of the year.

Source: Press TV

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UAE rushes 30 tons of aid to Afghanistan after earthquake claims over 1,150 lives

24 June, 2022

The UAE has sent 30 tons of aid to Afghanistan, the Emirates News Agency WAM reported on Friday, following a deadly earthquake that is estimated to have killed 1,150.

The aid reportedly consisted of food supplies and was sent under the directive of the UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to supervise an air bridge for the victims.

The task was undertaken by the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation and the Emirates Red Crescent, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, WAM reported.

Dr. Mohamed Ayoya, a UNICEF representative in Afghanistan, said his agency has deployed medical experts and hygiene supplies to support surviving families in an account to the Associated Press.

He said that with a damaged water system and an existing outbreak of diarrhea, cholera is a real concern for those left homeless. Ayoya made those comments as an aftershock took more lives on Friday.

Afghanistan's economy had been reliant on international donor support and aid even before the Taliban seized power last August as the US and its NATO allies withdrew their forces, ending a 20-year war.

Aid groups still operating in Afghanistan are now scrambling to get medical supplies, food and tents to the remote quake-struck area, but UN agencies are facing a $3 billion funding shortfall this year.

Trucks of food and other necessities arrived from Pakistan, and planes full of humanitarian aid also landed from Iran and Qatar.

India sent a technical team to the capital, Kabul, to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. India said its aid would be handed over to a UN agency on the ground and to the Afghan Red Crescent Society.

Other countries that have offered aid were at pains to underscore that they would work only through UN agencies, not with the Taliban, which no government has officially recognized.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Dozens of Iraqi lawmakers sworn in after Sadr bloc resigns from parliament

23 June 2022

Iraq’s parliament has sworn in dozens of new lawmakers to replace a bloc loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

According to the assembly’s media office, 64 new members of parliament were sworn in on Thursday, while nine seats still remain vacant in the assembly.

Shia lawmaker Ahmed Rubaie said the new coalition was now the main force in the 329-seat parliament.

“Following the Sadr lawmakers’ resignation, we can confirm that we are the largest bloc in parliament with around 130 seats after the swearing in of the new lawmakers,” Rubaie told reporters.

The development came on the heels of mass resignation of 73 Sadrist parliamentarians two weeks ago after months of stalemate over forming a new government, nearly eight months after parliamentary elections.

Sadr called the en bloc resignation “a sacrifice made towards emancipation of the nation from an ambiguous fate,” referring to the impasse.

Members of the movement then handed in their resignations in al-Hannana, the headquarters of the political party in the holy shrine city of Najaf.

“The country’s reform will only take place with a national majority government,” Sadr said in a televised statement, adding, “If the survival of the Sadr bloc is an obstacle to the formation of the government, then all representatives of the bloc are ready to resign from parliament.”

“Iraq needs a government backed by a majority that serves the people,” the prominent cleric said.

Sadr’s party was the biggest winner in the October general elections and was expected to sideline other rivals who had dominated politics in Iraq for years. However, the existing political disagreement among parties impeded parliament from electing a president.

On June 12, Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi accepted mass resignation of lawmakers faithful to Sadr.

"We have reluctantly accepted the requests of our brothers and sisters, representatives of the Sadr bloc, to resign," al-Halbousi tweeted.

Source: Press TV

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Negotiation with terror outfit TTP sparks fear in Pakistan’s Parliament

25 June, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], June 25 (ANI): Pakistan government’s negotiations with the proscribed outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has created fear in the Upper House of its Parliament.

The parliamentarians on Thursday noted that lawmakers were unaware when the negotiations began and between whom were they taking place, reported The Frontier Post.

They demanded clarity from the government over the matter. The outlawed TTP that overlooks the country’s national security briefed an important meeting a day earlier at the Prime Minister’s Office, with high-level political leadership in presence.

In Thursday’s session of the Upper House of the Parliament, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) member Mushtaq Ahmed said a session on negotiation with the TTP took place at the PM’s Office yesterday in which representatives of some political parties were present but not everyone was invited.

“This session took decisions related to the talks with TTP. Therefore, there should be clarity and the house should be informed that which committee’s session was it?” Ahmed questioned.

The parliament member said that if the session was of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) then he is a member of it and he was not invited to the meeting.

“Was this a session of a parliamentary committee? If not, then where does the Parliament stand on this matter?” the JI senator wondered. Senator Ahmed added that the government has said that it will brief the Parliament on the negotiations. “What will be the use of it once the (state) finalises it themselves?”

Following the meeting, the PM’s Office said all negotiations with the TTP will be held as per the Constitution and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah assured that an in-camera session of the Parliament will be called to take lawmakers into confidence regarding the decisions related to national security, reported The Frontier Post.

Ahmed slammed the government and asked it whether the Parliament was a mere “rubber stamp”. For his part, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) member Raza Rabbani, whose party is a major stakeholder in the coalition government, said the Parliament is “always used as a rubber stamp”.

Rabbani said an in-camera session of the Parliament should be called to inform lawmakers about the terms and conditions of the negotiations with the TTP, reported The Frontier Post.

“I am surprised that we can speak to the TTP, but production orders for Ali Wazir, a member of the Parliament, could not be issued so far despite several requests,” Rabbani added.

In response, Azam Nazeer Tarar, who is the Law Minister and a member of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) which is the biggest stakeholder in the government, said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has made it clear that negotiations will be in line with the Constitution.

Source: The Print

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Foes of Islam and Palestine hatching conspiracies against Pakistan, Jihad-e-Islami

June 25, 2022

Abu Sharif, a prominent leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement in occupied Palestine named Jihad-e-Islami, has said that anti-Islam and anti-Palestine forces hatching conspiracies against Pakistan, defending the rights of the Palestinian nation and freedom of Al-Quds, are the prime responsibilities of Jihad-e-Islami Palestine.

He said this during a meeting with the Secretary-General of Palestine Foundation, Dr. Sabir Abu Maryam.

Source: ABNA24

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Peace talks with TTP require Pak House nod

Jun 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Seeking a constitutional cover for murkier talks with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Pakistan's military establishment has engaged the civilian government for formal conclusion of an agreement with militants through parliament's approval. Except for TTP's indefinite ceasefire and release of the group's members by Pakistan's security forces, the negotiators have not yet made public other key points of the possible deal that Islamabad had reached with the militants at a recently-concluded huddle in Kabul. The end of Islamabad's formal talks with the terrorist outfit was announced by the Afghan Taliban spokesperson, hoping for a positive outcome.

Pakistan had started negotiations with TTP in October last year but the process broke down in December, triggering frequent terrorist attacks by the group from across the Afghan border. According to thinktank Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, TTP has carried out 46 attacks this year, mostly against security forces, in which 79 were killed.

In April, the Afghan Taliban had facilitated the talks again that culminated into a vague deal, requiring approval from parliament to become a legal document. The secrecy surrounding the talks had prompted some progressive parliamentarians in the ranks of PPP, a major coalition partner, to express its reservations. The PPP even protested for not being taken on board for the talks.

The protests pushed the military high command to brief the national political leadership on the issue. Last Wednesday, Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, who has been spearheading the TTP talks, and ISI director general Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum briefed a meeting chaired by PM Shehbaz Sharif. Following the meeting, the PM's office said all talks with TTP will be held in the ambit of constitution. Interior minister Rana Sanaullah also assured that an in-camera House session will be called to take lawmakers into confidence on decisions related to national security.

Source: Times Of India

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Pakistan political party holds protests over killing of four youth activists in North Waziristan tribal region

25 June, 2022

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [Pakistan], June 25 (ANI): Pakistan political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) held demonstrations in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Thursday over the brutal killing of four youth activists and a “conspiracy to destroy peace” in North Waziristan tribal district area, local media reported.

Notably, at least four volunteers of a social organisation were killed when unidentified gunmen opened fire at their car in Pakistan’s North Waziristan district on Sunday. All the deceased activists were part of a social organisation, the Youth of Waziristan. The bodies were shifted to a hospital in Mirali town, reported Dawn.

The Youth Organisation, formed after the Zarb-i-Azb military operation, has worked for the restoration of peace in the militancy-hit region. The organisation has also staged a protest and sit-in against target killings.

About two years ago security agencies took action against a sit-in organised by the Youth of Waziristan and arrested its founding president, Noor Islam Dawar.

JI district emir Mohammad Ajmal Khan, general secretary Dr Naser Khan, Haji Akhtar Ali Shah and JI youth provincial deputy chief Dr Abdul Rauf Qureshi led the demonstrations protesting the killing of the youth.

The protesters were holding banners and they passed through different markets of the city.

During the demonstrations, the speakers said that Al-Khidmat Foundation president and Youth of Waziristan activist Asadullah Dawar and his friends, including, Waqar Ahmad Dawar, Suneed Ahmad Dawar and Ammad Dawar were murdered brutally in the North Waziristan tribal district a few days ago, as per the media portal.

According to the speakers the killed youth was educated and was a peace activist. While speaking of the incident, they added that the motorcar they were travelling in was attacked by armed motorcyclists.

Citing a conspiracy, they claimed that the tribal youth and intellectuals are being killed to deliberately destroy peace in the region. Furthermore, expressing concerns over the law and order situation and incidents of targeted killing in the tribal district, they asked the government to take the perpetrators of the slain youth to task and provide justice, as per the media portal.

Source: The Print

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PM Shehbaz calls for security of foreign investors in Balochistan

Behram Baloch | Saleem Shahid

June 25, 2022

GWADAR: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has urged the people of Gwadar to ensure security of foreign investors who were making huge investment for the development of Balochistan.

“China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Qatar and other countries have been extending financial and diplomatic help and cooperation to Pakistan for 75 years and bailing the country out in difficult times. If we do not fulfil our responsibility for ensuring security of their investors, engineers and workers, they will go back,” he said while speaking at a gathering of fishermen and other people at the Gwadar Business Centre during his day-long visit to the port city on Friday.

The prime minister said that during his visit to Beijing, the Chinese premier had assured him of financial help and cooperation and an agreement was signed the other day under which China would provide $2.3 billion in soft loan to Pakistan, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE also extended help to the country. He said these countries had not put any conditions for investment in Pakis­tan and for developing “our agriculture, industry, energy sector”. “Unfortu­nately, their engineers, workers and other people, who are helping us in development, are being targeted.”

PM Sharif expressed displeasure over the delay in completing the development projects initiated five years ago in Gwadar.

Announces provision of land for establishment of Gwadar fishermen’s colony

He regretted that issues relating to power and water supply in Balochistan had not been resolved for a long time. He said a contractor would start work on a 100MW electricity project over the next couple of weeks and complete it in three months. He said Iran had agreed to supply 100MW additional electricity during Energy Minister Khurram Dastagir’s recent visit to Tehran.

The prime minister said that 29km transmission lines for supply of 100MW from Iran were delayed by the previous government, though the Iranian side had completed the project at its end.

Referring to the demands of fishermen, he said steps were being taken to resolve the issues of displacement and difficulty in access to the sea that was affecting the fisheries sector. He said the establishment of Gwadar University had been included in the Public Sector Development Programme. Earlier, PM Sharif witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the GDA and Indus Hospital for establishment of a 100-bed hospital in Gwadar.

Protest rallies

The Gwadar rights movement, led by Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, and family members of forcibly disappeared people staged protest rallies in Gwadar when Prime Minister Sharif was in the port city. Hund­reds of people belonging to the “Gwadar Ko Haq Do” movement and different political parties and members of civil society gathered at Y-Chowk carrying placards and banners inscribed with their demands.

Source: Dawn

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Member of Islamic-Christian Committee: Palestinian refugees should return to their land

June 25, 2022

Member of the Islamic-Christian Committee in Support of Jerusalem and its Sanctuaries, Father Manuel Musallam, on Friday hailed the sacrifices of the Palestinian people who have been defending the Palestinian holy sites, lands, and right of return.

Musallam emphasized that the Palestinian struggle should be oriented toward regaining the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

“Palestinian freedom fighters sacrifice their lives for the sake of returning to their lands,” Musallam affirmed.

For its part, the Hamas Movement had stressed its rejection of the resettlement plans and all the attempts to erode the Palestine refugees’ right of return.

Source: ABNA24

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Iran, China Vow to Broaden Mutual Cooperation


During the phone talk, the Iranian and Chinese foreign ministers explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating mutual cooperation in various areas.

They also exchanged views regional and international developments.

Amir Abdollahian appreciated Beijing for inviting Iranian President Ebrahim Rayeesi to attend to BRICS Conference and welcomed China’s initiative for enhanced international development and security.

He expressed the hope that China’s rotating presidency in BRICS will lead to the expansion of multilateral cooperation.

The Chinese foreign minister, for his part, welcomed President Rayeesi's decision to attend the BRICS Conference, and said that the objective of the dialogues is economic proximity of the developing countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping as the host of BRICS Summit 2022, has invited President Rayeesi to attend the meeting and deliver a speech on Friday.

Rayeesi will discuss the Islamic Republic's viewpoints on international issues and the development of trade and economic cooperation with other countries at the event, which will be held on Friday.

The meeting will discuss "high-level talks for global development". 

Iran is the only country in West Asia region that has been invited to attend the BRICS+ summit.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran: Afghanistan's Assets Should Be Released without Politicization


Takht Ravanchi made the remarks while addressing the United Nations Security Council meeting on 'Situation in Afghanistan'.

"The sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on specific individuals and entities in Afghanistan must not impede humanitarian, economic, or developmental cooperation with Afghanistan," the Iranian ambassador said.

Takht Ravanchi, meantime, called for formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the participation of all ethnic groups.

The Iranian ambassdor reiterated that Afghanistan's assets blocked in the United States belong to the Afghan people and their release must not be politicized.

The following is the full text of Takht Ravanchi's speech at the UN Security Council meeting:

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by expressing our heartfelt condolences to the people of Afghanistan and families of victims of the recent earthquake in Khost, Afghanistan. We stand with the people of Afghanistan at this difficult time and have already dispatched two airplane shipments of humanitarian aid to the earthquake-affected areas.

Mr. President,

We take note of the Secretary-General's recent report on the situation in Afghanistan.

According to the report, in early 2022, humanitarian needs continued to rise, with 24.4 million people, or 59 percent of the population were in need of assistance, up from 18.4 million at the start of 2021.

As a neighbor to Afghanistan, Iran has used its capacities and resources to help the people of Afghanistan overcome the challenges they have faced. We have been hosting millions of refugees who have unfortunately received minimal international assistance in the last 40 years. The latest example of our assistance to Afghan refugees has been the extensive vaccination against Covid-19 of Afghans living in Iran. Neighbors of Afghanistan, including Iran, should not feel all the burdens associated with receiving Afghan refugees. Other countries should welcome the refugees as well.

We support the United Nations' efforts to meet Afghanistan's expanding humanitarian needs including the system-wide Transitional Engagement Framework to provide basic human needs.

We emphasize the importance of the international community's continued engagement with Afghanistan, particularly in supporting the people's humanitarian and development needs, and we urge the international community, particularly donor countries, to continue to provide all possible and necessary assistance to the Afghan people. For our part, in the course of last months, Iran has provided more than 30 consignments of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

As we have repeatedly stated, Afghanistan's frozen assets belong to the Afghan people, and their release, which is crucial for helping the Afghan economy and saving lives, should not be politicized or conditional in any way. We highlight the need for taking relevant actions, such as reopening channels of financial and in-kind support and resources to the Afghan people, as well as exploring real alternatives for unfreezing Afghanistan's financial assets and improving access to lawful banking services. Similarly, sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on specific individuals and entities in Afghanistan must not impede humanitarian, economic, or developmental cooperation with Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Attacks claimed or attributed to Daesh or its affiliated groups have recently increased and spread in Afghanistan. We are deeply concerned about such terrorist activities. This trend underlines the international community's continued demand that Taliban must commit to fighting terrorism and ensure that Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorist groups like Daesh and Al-Qaida that have been responsible for heinous acts of terror, not only in Afghanistan, but throughout the region and beyond.

Equally critical, efforts to combat drugs trafficking must be a priority. Every year, Iran is directly affected by this menace and pays a high price for it. We welcome Taliban's decision to outlaw all drugs. However, given the fact that Taliban has not taken the necessary precautionary measures to confront this year's harvest, as well as the unavailability of information on the seizure of drugs and arrest of drug traffickers, concerns about the impact of the illegal drug trade remain strong.

Mr. President,

The absolute need for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, representing the country’s multi-ethnic society, is crystal clear. The people of Afghanistan from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, especially the younger generation who will lead Afghanistan in the future, must be assured that they have a say in the affairs of their country. This would not be possible unless an inclusive government is established and sufficient attention is paid to Afghanistan’s political and social structures that can involve people from all walks of life including ethnicities, men, women, and youth.

Despite repeated international calls, however, Taliban has failed to make significant efforts to ensure the government's true ethnic and political inclusiveness. Formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan is a prerequisite and a critical component for the international recognition.

The SG’s report indicates that many of Taliban’s decisions have weakened fundamental human rights, particularly those of women and girls. Taliban should protect all human rights, particularly the rights of women and minorities as well as the right to education.

We continue to consult with Afghanistan's neighbors, as well as regional and international partners, including the United Nations, in order to assist Afghanistan in achieving long-term peace, security, and stability.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli forces in West Bank: Sources

25 June, 2022

A Palestinian teenager died from his wounds hours after being shot by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian sources said Saturday.

Mohammed Hamad, 16, was shot and wounded on Friday evening near the village of Silwad, near Ramallah in the northern West Bank, and died hours later, a Silwad councilor told AFP.

The teenager was near a road leading to the neighboring settlement of Ofra when he was wounded by Israeli soldiers, the councilor said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said dozens of Palestinians had gathered near Silwad and that “a number of suspects hurled rocks” at passing cars, “endangering civilians.”

“Soldiers at the scene operated to stop the suspects in accordance with standard operating procedures, using live fire as a last resort,” she told AFP.

A Palestinian was hit, she added, without giving further details.

The death comes amid a spike in Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Nineteen people, mostly Israeli civilians - including 18 inside Israel and an Israeli settler - have been killed in attacks by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs since late March.

Israeli security forces have responded with raids inside Israel and in the West Bank in which three Israeli Arab attackers and at least 46 Palestinians have been killed.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Donors pledge $160 million, Palestinian refugees need more

June 25, 2022

UNITED NATIONS: Donors pledged about $160 million for the UN agency helping Palestinian refugees, but it still needs over $100 million to support education for more than half a million children and provide primary health care for close to 2 million people and emergency cash assistance to the poorest refugees, the agency’s chief said Friday.

Briefing reporters on the outcome of Thursday’s donor conference, Philippe Lazzarini said the pledges when turned into cash will enable the UN Relief and Works Agency known as UNRWA to run its operations through September. But “I do not know if we will get the necessary cash to allow us to pay the salaries after the month of September,” he said.

“We are in an early warning mode,” Lazzarini said. “Right now, I’m drawing the attention that we are in a danger zone and we have to avoid a situation where UNRWA is pushed to cross the tipping point, because if we cross the tipping point that means 28,000 teachers, health workers, nurses, doctors, engineers, cannot be paid.”

UNRWA was established to provide education, health care, food and other services to the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes during the war surrounding Israel’s establishment in 1948.

There are now 5.7 million Palestinian refugees, including their children and grandchildren, who mostly live in camps that have been transformed into built-up but often impoverished residential areas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza, as well as in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. But UNRWA only helps the more than 500,000 in school and close to 2 million who have health benefits.

Lazzarini said the more than $100 million shortfall in funding for 2022 is about the same as the shortfall that UNRWA has faced every year for almost a decade, but while income has stagnated costs have increased.

In past years, UNRWA has been able to absorb the shortfall through austerity and cost control measures, he said, but today it’s not possible because there is very little left to cut without cutting services.

“Today, we have some classrooms with up to 50 kids,” the UNRWA commissioner-general said. “We have a double shift in our schools. We have doctors who cannot spend more than three minutes in medical consultation. So if we go beyond that, it will force the agency to cut services.”

Lazzarini said UNRWA’s problem is that “we are expected to provide government-like services to one of the most destitute communities in the region, but we are funded like an NGO because we depend completely on voluntary contributions.”

Funding the agency’s services has been put at risk today because of the “de-prioritization, or maybe increased indifference, or because of domestic politics,” he said.

Lazzarini said the solution to UNRWA’s chronic financial problem requires “political will” to match the support for the agency’s work on behalf of Palestinian refugees.

He said UNRWA has a very strong donor base in Europe and last year the Biden administration resumed funding which was cut by the Trump administration, but he said the overall contribution from the Arab world has dropped to less than 3 percent of the agency’s income.

Donors have also faced financial difficulties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, and now there’s a major effort to help Ukraine in its war with Russia, he said.

“We will know better at the end of the year how much it will impact the agency,” Lazzarini said.

Some donors have already warned UNRWA “that we might not have the traditional top-up at the end of the year, which would be dramatic” for the agency, he said.

Ahead of Thursday’s donors conference, Israel’s UN Ambassador Erdan Calls on countries to freeze contributions until all UNRWA teachers that it claims support terrorism and murdering Jews are fired.

Source: Arab News

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North America


Dozens of Senate lawmakers demand that US probe Abu Akleh’s murder

23 June 2022

A group of 24 Democratic lawmakers with the US states’ Senate demand that Washington investigate the last month’s shooting death of veteran Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

The request came in a letter led by Senators Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and cosigned by 22 other Democrats, The Hill reported.

In their letter, which was forwarded to US President Joe Biden on Thursday, the lawmakers urged that the US State Department and FBI launch an “independent investigation under US auspices to determine the truth” behind the murder.

“It is clear that neither of the parties on the ground trust the other to conduct a credible and independent investigation,” the senators wrote. “Therefore, at this point, we believe the only way to achieve that goal is for the United States to be directly involved in investigating Ms. Abu Akleh’s death.”

The incident, during which the renowned Al Jazeera journalist was killed by shots to her head, took place in the city of Jenin in the northern part of the occupied West Bank on May 11. It sent shockwaves throughout the international community and initiated numerous calls for accountability on the part of the Israeli regime.

Earlier this month, an investigation by The Washington Post negated the Israeli military’s efforts to deflect blame for Abu Akleh’s murder, while hinting at Tel Aviv’s bid to withhold vital evidence in the case.

The Post published the results of the probe on June 12, citing “multiple eyewitnesses,” reviews of numerous videos, and independent acoustic analyses of the gunshots. The daily also examined social media posts and photos of the event, and conducted two physical inspections of the scene.

The Post’s probe found that at the time of the incident, the sniper was situated about 182 meters (600 feet) away from Abu Akleh—just where an Israeli convoy had been deployed that morning.

The paper refuted the Israeli military’s version that claims the shots were directed towards a Palestinian gunman, who was allegedly standing between the Israeli forces and the journalist. It says the military has not released any evidence pointing to the presence of a gunman.

The Israeli military is also sitting on tons of evidence, including footage from drones and body cameras, the paper noted.

Source: Press TV

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End of US era in Latin America ‘approaching’

June 25, 2022

The continuous serial political developments in Latin America indicate that countries of the region have become a major obstacle in the path of the policy of unilateralism by the United States.

The continuous and serial political developments in Latin America indicate that countries of this region, which have always been considered the backyard of the United States, have become a major obstacle in the path of the policy of unilateralism by the United States.

Some series of developments are underway in Latin America that their significance and impacts on the global equation are no less than the Ukraine war and Taiwan conflict.

The results of the counting of votes in the second round of Colombian Presidential Election show that "Gustavo Francisco Petro", the candidate of the left-wing party, has won the final election. This is the first victory of a candidate from left-wing party in the Colombian Presidential Election.

The victory of the left-wing party in Colombian Presidential Election comes as the US President Joe Biden said a few months ago during a visit of Colombian President Iván Duque at the White House that he wanted to identify Colombia as a "key non-NATO ally”.

The decision was an important step in "benefiting" the Latin American country from "defense, trade and security cooperation" with the United States that now with the left-wing party assumed power in this country, “We should expect change of approach by the United States.”

The direct relationship between events similar to the results of the Colombian Presidential Election, which is associated with the downgrade of the US status in Latin America as well as its direct impact on limiting continuation of unilateralist policy by the United States, is an issue that has been turned into an important challenge for Washington. The significance of this issue becomes more apparent when special attention is paid to the costly strategy of the United States over the previous years to keep Latin American countries as Washington's backyard.

The results of Colombian Presidential Election indicate the fact that the United States has suffered a heavy political defeat on its own continent.

The development of Venezuela's strategic relationship with Iran, which has recently deepened and strengthened with the recent visit of Venezuelan President Nicola Maduro to Tehran, is also considered by Western political experts as another defeat for the United States.

Washington, which is deeply concerned about the decline of its power in Latin America, tried to form a new grouping in mid-June without inviting Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba to the Ninth Summit of Americas in Los Angeles.

The US move provoked widespread reactions that member states in the American and Caribbean Community (Celac) meeting in Argentina announced that the meeting would be held by countries that have not been invited by the US to the Summit. The 10 so-called “Alba Bloc” also issued a statement and condemned the expulsion and discriminatory behavior of the United States at the Ninth Summit of Americas in Los Angeles.

Source: ABNA24

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Mali’s army says 50 extremists ‘neutralized’

25 June, 2022

Mali’s army said it had “neutralized” 50 extremists in an area in the center of the country where more than 130 civilians were killed a week ago.

The government blamed al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists for the massacre of civilians in Diallassagou and two neighboring villages last weekend, the latest mass killings in the Sahel region.

“Fifty (extremists were) neutralized” in the Diallassougou area where “the operational priorities were directed following the terrorist attack against the populations on the night of June 18 to 19,” the army said in a press release late Friday.

The army also reported “two terrorist watchmen neutralized” in the central Mondoro area, in addition to “eight terrorist suspects arrested” in the south of the country during a separate operation.

The government has blamed al-Qaeda-affiliated Macina Katiba extremists for the killings of 132 civilians in the Diallassagou area in central Mali, one of the hotbeds of the violence that has plagued the Sahel for years.

The group denied carrying out the massacre in a statement, the SITE Intelligence monitoring group said Friday.

The Diallassagou bloodshed is one of the worst civilian killings Mali has seen in recent years.

The Sahel country has since 2012 been rocked by extremist insurgencies.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Jordan’s king says he supports Middle East military alliance similar to NATO

24 June, 2022

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Friday that he supports a military alliance in the Middle East similar to the Western-led NATO.

Speaking to CNBC, King Abdullah said that the charter of such an alliance would need to be very clear.

“I would be one of the first people that would endorse a Middle East NATO, but the linkages to the rest of the world and how we fit in… has to be very, very clear. Otherwise, it confuses everybody,” he said.

Closer cooperation on the military front between Arab countries and Israel has been pushed by the US for several years as a way of confronting Iran and its malign activity.

Recently, US lawmakers introduced a bill in the Senate and in Congress calling for a plan to integrate Middle East air defenses in the face of Iran.

And Israeli officials have said there is air-defense cooperation with unnamed Arab countries and the US, which he claimed had already foiled Iranian attacks on the region.

US President Joe Biden is scheduled to make his first visit to the Middle East next month, with stops in Saudi Arabia, the West Bank and Israel.

Iran and warming ties between Arab countries and Israel figure to be high on his agenda. The common threat of Iran, coupled with the Abraham Accords, signed under the Trump administration between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel, has drawn Arab countries and Israel closer in recent years.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Tunisia’s interior ministry confirms threats to President Saied’s life, foils attack

24 June, 2022

Tunisia’s interior ministry said on Friday it had information about serious threats to the life of the president and that it had foiled what it called a separate terrorist attack, adding to security concerns as the country faces a political crisis.

The ministry said both internal and external elements were involved in plans targeting the president. Spokesperson Fadhila Khelifi said in a news conference that “the goal was to undermine Tunisian public security.”

In what the ministry said was a separate incident, an attacker was arrested after injuring two police after targeting them overnight “at a sensitive point in the capital,” said Faker Bouzghaya, head of communications for the ministry.

President Kais Saied’s is preparing a new constitution that he plans to put to a referendum next month.

Opposition to Saied’s moves has broadened over recent months as nearly all major political parties as well as the labor union have come out against his plans, holding street rallies against him.

However, while critics of the president say his moves have raised concerns over rights and freedoms won in the 2011 revolution that brought democracy, there has been no widespread crackdown on the opposition or wave of arrests.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Hundreds of migrants storm border separating Spain’s Melilla enclave from Morocco

24 June, 2022

Hundreds of migrants stormed the border separating Spain’s Melilla enclave from Morocco on Friday, the first such attempted mass crossing into the territory since the two nations mended diplomatic ties in March.

Melilla and Ceuta, Spain’s other tiny North African enclave, have the European Union’s only land borders with Africa, making them a magnet for migrants.

A group of over 400 migrants stormed the border fence at 8:40 a.m. Friday and a “significant number” managed to get in, the Spanish government’s local delegation said in a statement.

The migrants, from sub-Saharan Africa, were “perfectly organized and violent” it added.

Morocco deployed a “large” amount of forces to try to repel the assault on the border, who “cooperated actively” with Spain’s security forces. the statement added.

In March this year, Spain ended a year-long diplomatic crisis by backing Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara, going back on its decades-long stance of neutrality.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez then visited Rabat, and the two governments hailed a “new stage” in relations.

The row began when Madrid allowed Brahim Ghali, leader of Western Sahrara’s pro-independence Polisario Front, to be treated for COVID-19 in a Spanish hospital in April 2021.

A month later, some 10,000 migrants surged across the Moroccan border into Spain’s Ceuta enclave as border guards looked the other way, in what was widely seen as a punitive gesture by Rabat.

Rabat calls for the Western Sahara to have an autonomous status under Moroccan sovereignty, but the Polisario wants a UN-supervised referendum on self-determination as agreed in a 1991 ceasefire agreement.

Over the years, thousands of migrants have attempted to cross the 12-kilometer (7.5-mile) border between Melilla and Morocco, or Ceuta’s eight-kilometer border, by climbing the fences, swimming along the coast or hiding in vehicles.

The two territories are protected by fences fortified with barbed wire, video cameras and watchtowers.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN rights chief calls for impartial probe into Ethiopia mass killings

24 June 2022

The UN rights chief on Thursday called on the Ethiopian authorities to conduct "prompt, impartial and thorough" investigations into weekend attacks in the west of the country that have killed hundreds of people.

"I am horrified by the senseless killing as well as the forced displacement of the local population in the attack on Tole village," Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.

She said her staff had spoken with witnesses to the June 18 attack in the Oromia region who said armed individuals descended on Tole and began shooting randomly, leaving hundreds dead.

Most of the victims were women and children, the statement said, adding that at least 2,000 other people had been forced to flee their homes.

"The armed individuals also reportedly burned down several houses during the four-hour assault," it said.

Ethiopia's parliament also instructed Thursday the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, a state-affiliated independent body, to investigate the killings which it said were carried out by the Oromo Liberation Army.

"A terrible and inhumane atrocity has been committed by the (OLA) on innocent citizens" in parts of Oromia and the neighboring Gambella region, it said.

Survivors of the Tole attack told AFP that hundreds of people belonging to the Amhara ethnic group were killed by rebels, with bodies still lying on the streets after hours of violence.

The Oromia regional authorities have also blamed the attack on the OLA, which is branded a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government.

But a spokesman for the rebel group blamed the region's pro-government militia for the killings and called for an independent investigation.

"I call on the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that investigations are promptly launched into the attack and to ensure that victims and their families have a right to truth, justice, and reparations, including by holding those responsible to account," Bachelet said.

She also said an unspecified number of people were reported to have been abducted during the attack and that their whereabouts remained unknown.

"I call on the authorities to take all necessary and lawful measures to ensure those abducted regain their freedom," Bachelet said.

Source: Press TV

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Oslo shooting suspect is a Norwegian of Iranian descent: Police

25 June, 2022

The suspect whom police have arrested following deadly shootings in Oslo overnight is a Norwegian of Iranian descent, police said on Saturday.

The man was known to domestic intelligence services and had had brushes with the law for minor infractions like knife and drug possession, police told a press conference, without naming the suspect.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Investigation in Sweden related to YPG/PKK terror group ends over 'lack of evidence'

Atila Altuntas  



Sweden on Friday ended investigation on social media posts that showed pictures of the YPG/PKK terror organization’s so-called flag and its convicted ringleader, Abdullah Ocalan, that were projected on public buildings in the capital.

According to state radio, police claimed there is a lack of evidence to proceed with the investigation.

Last week, social media accounts linked to the PKK, and its Syrian offshoot YPG, shared images showing the organization's so-called flag and its leader’s picture projected on the historic City Hall and Globen Avicii Arena Sports Hall.

Following reactions by Türkiye’s Ambassador to Sweden Hakki Emre Yunt and others to the propaganda activities of the terrorists, Stockholm Municipality had filed a criminal complaint.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last month, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine that began on Feb. 24.

But Türkiye, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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South Asia


One of Taliban commanders joined Ahmad Massoud’s forces

June 25, 2022

Qari Waqas, commander of the Taliban Red Unit in Tagab district, Badakhshan province, joined Ahmad Massoud’s forces, along with 300 forces under his command.

Seven Taliban members were killed and wounded in a clash between forces under the command of Qari Waqas, the Pashtun Tajik commander of the Badakhshan Red Unit in Tagab.

After the clash, Qari Waqas, along with more than 300 members his forces, separated from the Taliban and joined the National Resistance Front (under the command of Ahmad Massoud).

Following the clashes with the central Taliban militants, Qari Waqas has managed to control parts of Tagab district, including Khumbak, Kuri and Katubala areas.

Source: ABNA24

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Thousands of quake survivors without food, shelter in Afghanistan

June 25, 2022

GAYAN: Aid trickled to devastated villages in remote parts of Afghanistan on Friday but thousands of people remain without food, shelter and water three days after the country’s deadliest earthquake in decades.

Wednesday’s 5.9-magnitude quake struck hardest in the rugged east along the border with Pakistan while people slept, killing more than 1,000 and leaving thousands homeless.

Entire villages have been levelled in some of the worst affected districts, where survivors said they were even struggling to find equipment to bury their dead.

“There are no blankets, tents... there’s no shelter. Our entire water distribution system is destroyed. There is literally nothing to eat,” 21-year-old Zaitullah Ghurziwal told an AFP team that reached his village in hard-hit Paktika province.

The area was still being roiled by aftershocks that were sending frightened locals scurrying from whatever shelter they had sought in badly damaged dwellings.

One aftershock early Friday killed five people, according to Maqbool Luqmanzai, director of health in Gayan district.

Aid was starting to trickle through in some areas. AFP saw seven trucks from the United Nations World Food Programme trundle into the village of Wuchkai on Fri­day morning, 24 hours after leaving Kabul, to distribute tents and emergency rations.

Two Doctors Without Borders trucks also arrived with medical supplies.

Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, head of information for Paktika province, said heavy rain and floods were hampering efforts to reach those affected.

Communications have also been hit as the quake toppled mobile phone towers and power lines. The earthquake struck areas already suffering the effects of heavy rain, causing rockfalls and mudslides that wiped out hamlets perched precariously on mountain slopes.

Officials say nearly 10,000 houses were destroyed, an alarming number in an area where the average household size is more than 20 people.

“Seven in one room, five in the other room, four in another, and three in another have been killed in my family,” Bibi Hawa said on a hospital bed in the Paktika capital Sharan.

At Wuchkai, a cemetery on a rise overlooking the village had 11 fresh graves — all members of the same family. Save the Children said more than 118,000 children were impacted by the disaster.

“Many children are now most likely without clean drinking water, food and a safe place to sleep,” the international charity said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the global agency has “fully mobilised” to help. Accor­ding to his office, refugee agency UNHCR has dispatched tents, blankets and plastic sheeting; the World Food Programme has delivered food stocks for about 14,000; and the World Health Organisation has provi­ded 10 tonnes of medical supplies sufficient for 5,400 surgeries.

Iftikhar A. Khan adds from Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday dispatched second tranche of relief assistance for earthquake-hit Afghanistan.

Minister for States and Fro­ntier Region Senator Muhammad Talha Mahmood handed over the humanitarian assistance to Sardar Muhammad Shakeeb, charge d’affaires of Afghanistan, during a ceremony at Nur Khan Airbase, Rawalpindi.

The ceremony was attended by NDMA chairman Lt Gen Akhter Nawaz and officials of NDMA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The consignment arranged by NDMA consists of family tents and essential food items, which were dispatched through a PAF C130 aircraft.

The minister said Pakistan will continue to support Afghans during the humanitarian crisis. He said relevant authorities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NDMA and other departments were in close contact with the Afghan authorities for the transportation of relief goods.

Afghan Charge d’affaires thanked the Pakistani government for sending humanitarian assistance promptly.

Source: Dawn

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UNSC Discusses Afghanistan Ongoing Humanitarian, Political Crisis

By Arif Ahmadi

25 Jun 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – The UN Security Council held a session to discuss ongoing situation in Afghanistan, calling attention to the devastating earthquake, restrictions on Afghan women and girls, human rights issues, and other political crisis since the fall of republic government last August.

Earlier on Thursday, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced the UN’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will present its report on “the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security.”

Ramiz Alakbarov, UNAMA acting head, called for concerted international support for a swift humanitarian response to the devastating earthquake in Afghanistan that claimed over 1,000 lives and injured more than 1,500 others locals.

“Humanitarian actors mobilized an immediate response, dispatching ambulances, medical equipment, trauma kits, medicine, mobile health teams and emergency supplies including tents, blankets, plastic sheeting and food assistance,” he said, as TOLOnews quoted.

Addressing the ever-increasing restrictions against Afghan women and girls, Alakbarov said the de facto authorities have increasingly limited the exercise of basic human rights, such as freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of opinion and expression, quelling dissent and restricting civic space in the country.

“These include most prominently the ban on secondary schooling for girls and the decision to impose face covering on women, on which you have been briefed in detail by former Special Representative of the Secretary-General Deborah Lyons,” he added.

Despite the rumors and ongoing allegations of killings, ill-treatment and violations targeting individuals associated with the former government, Alakbarov said UNAMA will remain in Afghanistan to safeguard the rights of Afghans, including the rights of women and girls.

Meanwhile, an international correspondent Yalda Hakim – who also attended the Security Council Meeting talked about the restrictions against Afghan women under the Islamic Emirate rule, exclaiming it has been 279 days since the Taliban banned teenage girls from school.

“Afghanistan is now the only country in the world where girls are prevented from getting an education, locked out of their classrooms, simply because of their gender. Education is not a privilege, but a basic human right,” Yalda said.

Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, via a teleconference pointed to the dramatic change in Afghanistan’s political and economic areas after the collapse, saying 25 million people in Afghanistan are now living in poverty — more than double from 2011.

“Today, the average household spends three quarters of its income on food,” he said, stressing that 19 million people — nearly half the population — are food insecure, including 6.6 million at emergency levels, the highest number of any country in the world.”

Afghanistan’s representative Naseer A. Faiq said earning legitimacy requires winning the minds and hearts of all Afghans, and Afghan people were hoping to see changes in the policies of the de facto authorities in the last 10 months.

“This has been far from realized,” he said, citing the Islamic Emirate inflexible attitude towards creating an accountable national government staffed by professional women and minorities. 

To prevent Afghanistan from becoming a pariah state, Faiq called for a national dialogue among all Afghans, organized and facilitated by the United Nations, including representatives of the Islamic Emirate and opposition groups. 

The United Kingdom representative at the UNSC hearing said the humanitarian and economic situation remains critical in Afghanistan. “Women and girls in Afghanistan are facing unacceptable restrictions on their freedom of movement and dress as well as access to education, jobs and services,” as local media reported.

Furthermore, the United States representative at the UNSC hearing said the Islamic Emirate must reverse its actions regarding women if they want a normalized relationship with the international community.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban thank Pakistan, other friendly countries for helping quake-hit Afghanistan

June 24, 2022

Taliban Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani on Friday thanked Pakistan, UAE, India and other friendly countries and aid organisations for helping the people of Afghanistan hit by the recent deadly earthquake.

In an official statement, the interim government’s interior minister said earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters are a test from the Almighty.

“We too are enduring this ordeal like the other hardships in the past. We are patient and stand with our people. We will always remember those who gave us their helping hand in the difficult time.”

Haqqani also thanked the humanitarian organisations and philanthropists “from the bottom of our heart who have helped the earthquake victims in Paktika and Khost provinces and sent messages of condolences”.

“We pray for such a safe and secure world in which all the people live in relief and dignity,” the statement quoted him as saying.

Afghanistan lacks the medical supplies to treat those injured in an earthquake that killed more than 1,000 people this week, a senior official said, as an aftershock on Friday killed five more.

Authorities earlier ended a search in remote southeastern mountains for survivors of the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck early on Wednesday near the Pakistani border, about 160km southeast of Kabul, the capital.

Also read: Afghanistan seeks emergency medical supplies for earthquake survivors

About 2,000 people were injured and 10,000 homes partially or entirely destroyed in Wednesday's earthquake, Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, a spokesperson for Afghanistan's disaster ministry, told Reuters.

The disaster is a major test for the country’s rulers, who have been largely isolated, shunned by many because of concerns over human rights and cut off from much direct international assistance because of sanctions.

On Thursday, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates all said they planned to send aid. Supplies from Pakistan have already crossed the border.

India, which has strained ties with the Taliban, said it had sent 27 tonnes of supplies on two flights to be handed to international aid agencies.

Source: Tribune Pakistan

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India takes baby steps to dealing with Taliban

Anita Joshua  


India on Thursday operationalised its embassy in Kabul in a limited manner by deploying a “technical team” to monitor and coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

New Delhi has also stepped in to provide relief to the earthquake-hit Paktika in northeastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border.

Two consignments of assistance have been flown into Afghanistan — the first on an IAF plane which also ferried the “technical team” on Thursday and the second on the Afghan commercial carrier, Kam Air, on Friday.

The Indian decision to send a technical team to Kabul comes less than a week after the June 18 attack on the Karte Parwan gurdwara, allegedly by the Islamic State in retaliation to the denigration of the Prophet by then BJP spokespersons.

New Delhi had pulled out all Indian staff from its Kabul embassy in mid-August last year following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Announcing the deployment late on Thursday evening, the external affairs ministry said: “In order to closely monitor and coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders for the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance and in continuation of our engagement with the Afghan people, an Indian technical team has reached Kabul today and has been deployed in our embassy there.”

On June 2, India had sent its first team to Kabul under an MEA joint secretary to assess the state of Indian projects in the country and speak to the Taliban leadership.

Joint secretary J.P. Singh met Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting foreign minister, and visited some Indian projects besides the mission in Kabul, which had kept running with local staff who also assisted with delivery of the humanitarian assistance India had sent over the past few months.

Despite the visible contacts with the Taliban leadership and putting a team at the embassy, India has not committed itself to recognising the outlawed group in control of Afghanistan.

However, given the huge investments India has made in the country for over a decade now, allowing the vacuum to grow is also not something India can afford, particularly considering Pakistan’s interests and China’s footprint in the country.

Both India and Pakistan have been quick to come to Afghanistan’s aid after Wednesday’s earthquake. In a tweet quoting the ministry’s announcement of aid to Afghanistan, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar said: “India, a true first responder.”

Source: Telegraph India

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Southeast Asia


Indonesian police arrest six for 'blasphemy' over bar promotion

Jun 25, 2022

JAKARTA: Indonesian police arrested six people on charges of blasphemy over a bar chain's free alcohol promotion for patrons named Mohammed, officials said late on Friday, in a case that has sparked outrage in the Muslim-majority country.

In a now-deleted social media post, the Holywings bar had offered a free bottle of gin for men named Mohammed and women named Maria -- a popular figure in the Bible -- every Thursday if they presented their ID cards.

Alcohol is considered forbidden under Islamic law and while drinking is not prohibited for any religion in the secular country's bars, the act itself is frowned upon by conservative Muslims.

The post caused fury online, and several youth organisations reported the management to police for allegedly committing blasphemy, while other groups threatened to raid the bar chain's locations.

Late on Friday, police presented six suspects, including Holywings' creative director and the head of its promotional team, during a televised press conference.

"Six people have been named suspects and they all work for the company," South Jakarta police chief Budhi Herdi Susianto said.

All six were dressed in the orange shirt usually worn by criminal offenders in Indonesia, with their faces covered.

"The suspects made the content to attract customers to their outlets, especially those making less than 60 percent of their sales targets," Susianto said.

The group was charged with multiple offences, including blasphemy and spreading religious hatred, the police said, and could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

Source: Times Of India

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Motac targets 900,000 Muslim tourists to Malaysia this year, says minister

24 Jun 2022

PUTRAJAYA, June 24 — The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) is targeting the arrival of 900,000 Muslim tourists to Malaysia this year, said its minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

She said this could be achieved by aggressively and proactively promoting Malaysia as a Muslim-friendly tourist destination at the national and international levels.

“After the country’s borders were reopened on April 1, Motac has held a series of working visits to promote Malaysia’s tourism products including Islamic tourism abroad.

“Apart from that, Motac will identify additional activities that can be carried out at 6,000 mosques nationwide as an added value to existing promotions,” she told a press conference after launching the 2022 Islamic Tourism Week organised by the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) here today.

As of April, a total of 460,000 Muslim tourists were reported to have arrived in the country. Malaysia is targeting the arrival of 230 million Muslim tourists by 2028 with projected revenue of US$225 billion (RM990 billion).

Nancy said with Muslims forming the majority of the country’s population, the availability of Muslim-friendly facilities was among the factors attracting Muslim tourists to visit Malaysia.

“Muslim tourists also do not have to doubt the status of halal food in our country,” she said.

She also said that Malaysia once again topped the list of Muslim-friendly tourism destinations based on the recent MasterCard-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2021, thus boosting tourists’ confidence in this country.

“This proves that Malaysia is on the right track and has a suitable ecosystem that can meet the needs of Muslim tourists,” she said.

Source: Malay Mail

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Malaysia running on empty, seeking a Jokowi

Joe Samad

June 25, 2022

Judging by social media postings, most Malaysians seem to be in adoration of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, more familiarly known as Jokowi.

People admire his humility, grace and leadership of the 270 million people he represents. There are so many positive postings, showing how close he is to his people and the heartbeat of the nation.

His stature has grown so much on the international stage that the foreign ministry has announced that Jokowi will meet leaders of Ukraine and Russia next week to advocate for peace and try to help ease a global food crisis, the first such trip by an Asian leader.

In Malaysia, we are running on empty. Running out of ideas, and with their backs to the wall, our leaders are putting forward incomprehensible proposals.

Daft ideas and proposals

Former minister for tourism, arts and culture, Nazri Aziz, suggested there is a potential for the annual floods in the country to become a “tourism attraction”. You can see cars floating by, people at wits end on rooftops waiting to be rescued, houses and property destroyed. Sure, why not.

Defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein is looking at setting up vegetable gardens in army camps throughout the country amid rising prices and to ensure food sustainability. The defence ministry’s national security role now includes food security which is highly admirable. The sprawling army base in each state can now grow food to feed the army.

With the army going to take care of the nation’s food security, who will protect the nation from its enemies?

Ministerial shambles

The minister for Sabah and Sarawak affairs has gone to the London Archives to scour documents related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Critics have panned his trip as a holiday at taxpayers expense. Any findings would be useful only if Sabah plans to exit from Malaysia.

Otherwise get back to the negotiating table over Sabah’s oil rights, tax revenue, and autonomy.

Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin suggests that Putrajaya “create another ministry” for former party member Zuraida Kamaruddin. Critics say Muhyiddin is only interested in “creating a new ministry” as a shortcut in handling the power struggle between Umno and the Bersatu-led Perikatan Nasional coalition.

Malaysia already has a bloated number of ministries and civil servants: the suggestion of a new ministry will add to the increasing cost of running a government. Political appeasement is the Malaysian way of buying loyalty or to keep someone’s trap shut.

Carrot and stick over use of Malay

The Malay language has not been spared by the “brains” in the government. Fresh from failing to make Malay the lingua franca of the Asean nations, the chief secretary to the government, Zuki Ali, taking up where Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob left off, has urged the Public Service Department to consider corrective and punitive action to enforce the use of Malay in the civil service and even government companies.

Now Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) wants to implement stricter laws to enforce the use of the Malay language. Its chairman, Awang Sariyan, said enforcement is important to preserve and strengthen Malay as the national language as it is closely related to the country’s identity.

Awang Sariyan said the enculturation of the national language simply using the “dakwah” approach through the reprimand and advice as provided under the law must be changed in order for the DBP to have a source of power against those who did not respect the language.

Restoring ethnic honour

The mention of Malay dignity and identity is interesting. We should not forget that a controversial Malay dignity congress was held in October 2019 to lift and protect Malay pride, but which has now been turned into shambles.

The daily parade of Malay leaders being convicted or being charged in court with corruption has dented Malay pride. We read about bags of money delivered to politicians’ houses in the late hours of the night and claims of money being shared among senior political leaders.

A sultan’s command over a festival is being challenged by a Muslim political party (PAS). The Kongres Maruah Melayu was supposed to protect the sanctity of the rulers.

Dignity of the rulers

Any fuss about the erosion of Malay dignity should revolve around corruption and the dignity of the sultans they were supposed to protect. Corruption has no language barrier and has dented the Maruah Melayu.

Enforcement through higher punishment will not deter crimes. That was PAS’ resolution through RUU355. Religion and the fear of god is never a deterrent. There is no science to say that there will be zero crimes, even when punishments are increased.

Capital punishment will no longer be mandatory for some offences in Malaysia, consistent with Malaysia becoming a humane society. Senior civil servants encouraging heavier punishment are out of sync with the advancement of a humane society.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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